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Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2023 Shortlist Announced

15 June 2023

The shortlist for UK and Ireland's most prestigious prize for crime fiction, the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year has been announced. The award is for the best crime novel published in paperback in the previous year and is voted for by an academy and the public and presented each year at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. More information about Ulverscroft's longlisted titles are below.

The Botanist by MW Craven
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in July 2022.
Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he'd still have his thumb left. There's the insanely brilliant civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw, his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn, and his nearest neighbour, Victoria. And then there's Estelle Doyle. Her father's murder appears to be an open and shut case, but Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands and the only footprints going into the house are hers. Since her arrest she's only said three words: 'Tell Washington Poe.' Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity . . .

Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone
Published in Large PrintCD and MP3 CD audiobook and uLibrary eAudiobook in October 2022.
The Skelf women live in the face of death every day, running a funeral directors and private investigators in Edinburgh, and their own grief intertwines with that of their clients as they reel from shocking past events.

A fist-fight by an open grave leads Dorothy to investigate the possibility of a faked death, while a young woman's obsession with Hannah threatens her relationship with Indy and puts them both in mortal danger. An elderly man claims he's being abused by the ghost of his late wife, while ghosts of another kind come back to haunt Jenny from the grave...pushing her to breaking point.

As the Skelfs struggle with increasingly unnerving cases and chilling danger lurks close to home, it becomes clear that grief, in all its forms, can be deadly...

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
Published in CD and MP3 CD audiobook in September 2022.
It's every parent's nightmare.

Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger.

You don't know who.
You don't know why.
You only know your teenage boy is in custody - and his future lost.

Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don't have a choice but to find them...

The It Girl by Ruth Ware
Published in Large Print in November 2022 and CD and MP3 CD audiobook in October 2022.
April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. During their first term, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends: Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily. By the end of their second term, April was dead. Now, a decade later, the man convicted of killing April - former Oxford porter John Neville - has died in prison. Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and she's relieved to have finally put the past behind her. But her world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April's death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide...including a murder.

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